'X Factor': will Simon Cowell return as a judge?
After two years of tumbling ratings for show, TV mogul hints he might make an onscreen return
TELEVISION mogul Simon Cowell has hinted that he could return to The X Factor as a judge following two years of tumbling ratings.
The talent show returns to ITV tomorrow for its tenth series with promises of a fresh format. Cowell will no doubt be keen to win back the millions of people who switched off after he left the judging panel in 2010.
The average number of viewers for each episode last year was 8.9 million, five million fewer than 2010, according to the Daily Mail.
The final attracted just 9.3 million viewers, half of what it attracted in 2010 and the lowest for a final since 2005.
But speaking at The X Factor London press launch on Thursday, Cowell insisted he felt "really good" about the show's future. "It's here to stay, it feels fresh, it's revived," he said.
Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger have been confirmed as this year's judges.
But asked about the possibility of his return, Cowell told the BBC: "I wouldn't rule it out."
The television mogul, who created the show, added: "It's just so easy after 10 years to get lazy and make the same show again.
"But the enthusiasm, the changes, the judging panels are all fantastic. Once again I feel like a proud daddy."
Contestants will initially audition in front of the judges in a small room – a format that the show abandoned in 2008 when it brought in a live audience.
Barlow said he "really hopes" the show will see a boost in ratings, while ITV director of television Peter Fincham appeared to have a dig at BBC rival The Voice. Fincham said of The X Factor: "It's fair to say that no other musical talent show on British television has launched as many stars. Or, indeed, any stars." ·